Visit These Family Vacation Destinations Before School Starts
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock, all others via Wikimedia Commons
So summer break is coming to an end and the little ones will soon be heading back to school. But you want to sneak in one last family vacation before the academic year starts. Across this great land, there are those iconic attractions that represent huge moments in American history, and there are also those under-the-radar destinations that may not get as much attention, but are still worth a visit. Here are some ideas; categorized by the vibe you'd like the vacation to have.
Focusing on an educational trip that is also fun will make your kids happy and at the same time help prep them for a back to school frame of mind. Washington is a great city, chock full of valuable knowledge. Take the kids to the National Mall and Memorial Parks. Stop by any of the 18 different Smithsonian museums including the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Zoo. The best part: all admissions are free.
There is no better place to take in American History like the city of Boston. Start with the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile route that takes you to 16 different historic sites. Stops along the trail include Old North Church, Boston Common and the USS Constitution. Almost every stop on the trail leads to another historic place.
If science is more your thing, then head over to the Museum of Science, Boston which is filled with over 700 exhibits, an IMAX theater and a planetarium. The New England Aquarium is located right on the wharf and recently went through a major renovation. Make sure to check out their totally revamped Giant Ocean Tank.
Yosemite National Park
There is no better time than right before school starts back to get outdoors and blissfully absorb what is left of the late summer days. And what better place is there to do this than Yosemite National Park in California? The park, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is huge, a sprawling 1,200-plus square miles, and over 3.7 million visitors drop by each year. The list of activities here is almost endless: on land, there's biking and hiking, horseback riding, guided bus tours, evening presentations and tons of activities for. Water activities include rafting, swimming and fishing.
Visit a dude ranch for a great throwback vacation. Even if they are too scared to ride a horse, there are plenty of other activities available for the kids. Just-for-fun rodeos, sailing, fishing, hiking, climbing walls, nature programs, are just a fraction of the activities that are available. Many of these places offer the kids and adults the chance to work on the ranch, learning how to groom, feed and herd the animals. Check out the Dude Ranchers Association for a comprehensive list and fantastic search engine to find your ultimate dude ranch vacation.
South Carolina has a lot going for it vacation-wise, and they really serve it up family style in Myrtle Beach. Copious attractions such as Family Kingdom amusement park, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Haunted Adventure and Aquarium, Backstage Mirror Maze, Wonderworks and the Hollywood Wax Museum are all awaiting your hard-earned dollars. Head to the beach for all of the usual water sports/activities and also just to relax and soak up the sun.
Ohio may not be the biggest state in the Union, but it is chock-full of worthy destinations. At pretty much every point, you are within a two-hour drive of a major city. There are many great places to go in the state for a family vacation, and if you string them together, you can make a week of it.
Everyone knows that heart of rock and roll is in Cleveland, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will make you truly believe it. Located on the waterfront in Cleveland, it's a must-visit.
If roller coasters are your thing, there is no better place than Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. You have your choice of 16 different coasters here and if you are willing to make the trip to the Cincinnati area, Kings Island has another 14 for you.
For the athletically inclined there is the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio as well.
Finally, no Ohio vacation would be complete without a journey to The Columbus Zoo. Home to renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna, it has been repeatedly ranked as the best zoo in the country.
There is a bunch more family fun vacations out there. Where would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.
More by Tom Bastek
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